At the beginning of April, the Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) in partnership with Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Navy Entertainment, launched a virtual month-long concert series in response to the impacts from the COVID-19 crisis. While watching, viewers also have the opportunity to electronically donate to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS). The series has been dubbed the “We Stand Together” concert series.
In recognition of their service, and as a way of thanking all their military patrons stationed in the U.S. or abroad, NEXCOM began the concert series on Apr.1, which marked the command’s 74th anniversary. “Our command has definitely come a long way since we were established in 1946 as the Navy’s Ship Store Office, and normally, we’d be commemorating this special occasion with our patrons by hosting many festive celebrations,” said retired Rear Adm. Robert J. Bianchi, CEO of NEXCOM. “While this year may be a bit different, one thing remains the same, and that’s our appreciation and gratitude for our patrons. Service members and military families serving around the world can now tune in daily for a special variety of virtual entertainment!”
The We Stand Together series kicked off with an interactive performance from Parmalee, who was nominated as the New Vocal Duo/Group of the Year by American Country Music. Since the kick-off, the series has continued with other artists, chefs and entertainers like Thompson Square, lovelytheband, Jason Charles Miller, Dylan LeBlanc, Robert Irvine, the Harlem Globetrotters and Jared Ashley, a Navy veteran and country music artist.
The concerts are broadcast live every day at 7 p.m. EST on the NEX Facebook page and NEX Instagram account, with some days featuring additional artists and other talented performers. To date, the performances have had a reach of over 1.9 million viewers. The NEX gets in the mix by asking the viewers where they’re watching the show. On Apr. 12, during the Thompson Square performance, one viewer replied, “Aboard the USS John Young (DD-973).” Another viewer who was watching said, “Navy Vet here and my husband who is a disabled Vet.” Others were tuning in from places like Gilroy, Calif.; Saint Louis, Mo.; Frisco, Texas; Norfolk, Va.; Waldorf, Md.; Montana and Yokosuka, Japan.
While watching these shows, viewers can also donate to NMCRS. In seasons past, customers were able to donate by purchasing a $5 benefit ticket at a NEX store. This year, donations can be made electronically by clicking the donate button when viewing the performances. The donation not only goes to NMCRS, but also entitles customers to a percentage off any NEX purchase from May 7-12. Since the benefit campaign’s inception in 2011, NEX customers have donated just under $2.5 million to NMCRS.
NEXCOM and MWR Navy Entertainment have teamed up together for many years to host live, in-person events at installations around the world. Due to the COVID-19 crisis and the cancellation of live events, this partnership took a different approach and transformed them by bringing them into the virtual world. Service members and military families can sit in their living room or onboard their ship, maintain the prescribed social distancing and live stream a variety of performances—from acoustic concerts, to cooking lessons and magic tricks, to guitar lessons, book readings, and work out tips all intended to engage a wide range of audiences and ages.
“Especially in times of crisis, we remain passionately committed to providing the resources to boost the morale and spirit of our nation’s military families,” said Rich Honiball, Executive Vice President, Global Merchandising and Marketing Officer of NEXCOM “While we may be practicing social distancing, our military community understands how important it is to remain emotionally connected, especially during the most trying of times. So in that spirit, NEXCOM knows that part of our mission isn’t just to provide value and service, but to continually support our military families and single Sailors alike by helping them thrive. We will continue to evolve and innovate ways to ensure our military community remain connected. Joining together with MWR Navy Entertainment, our vendor partners and the dozens of musicians and entertainers that have stepped forward to support this effort, we are honored to bring a bit of comfort, joy and entertainment during this challenging time as We Stand Together!”
The entertainment line-up for tonight, Apr, 14 will be The Mowglis and The Wealthy West. During the rest of the week, Apr. 15 – 17, viewers can expect to see performances by Frenship, Alex Winston, Sam Grow, Morgxn and 3Oh!3.
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